One of the things that I talk to nearly all of my clients about is the importance of creating an editorial calendar whenever they are planning any new undertaking on the web. It’s just way too easy to put great content online and then, well, forget about it for a few months while other projects cry for attention.
How can an editorial calendar help?
- It will jog your memory. Let’s face it, you just don’t read every page of your own website all that frequently, so you miss the opportunity to go, “Ooops! That person left the organization three months ago…” or, “Gosh, ‘News’ hasn’t been updated in a billion years.” Set up reminders in advance and you can use your memory power for other things.
- It can help you plan in other people’s time. If you know you’ll need something written or translated or proofread or designed or approved, you’ll know to build time in for that. And so will they.
- It helps you set priorities. If you see the upcoming year laid out before you, you may say, “Hey, maybe we should skip Facebook this year and focus on our core site.” It’s never fun to set priorities, but it’s better than starting everything and not being able to do the upkeep.
An editorial calendar can be as simple as notes that are jotted down in your calendar to remind you to put up new content or a basic Word document with a list of dates and, possibly, topics. Google Calendar is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to create and share an editorial calendar with other people, although there are plenty of other options online.
The beauty of all this advance planning is that you’ll think ahead to events or things happening at your institution or organization — and you’ll be prepared. Even if you know NOTHING about what to expect in the coming months, you can simply put in a reminder to “update blog”, “tweet”, “check Events section” every day, week, or month. Easy.
What’s the risk of not having an editorial calendar? Well, if you take a quick peek at the date of the last post on this blog, you’ll see that the year is different from the current one. Hey, it’s never too late to follow my own advice, right?